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Woman Affiliated with Local Chapter of Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club Arrested for Trafficking Vicodin

By Jesse Wood

April 7, 2014. Following an undercover operation, a woman affiliated with the Avery County chapter of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club was arrested for trafficking illegal prescription medicine on April 2, according to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. 

The release noted that detectives seized 93 tablets of Vicodin, six Oxycodone tablets and seven Xanax tablets – all of which had a combined street value of $800.


Selena Nicole Burleson, 35, of Hickory Nut Gap in Banner Elk, was charged with two counts of trafficking opium/heroin by possession; two counts of trafficking by transportation; two counts of trafficking by sell; possession with intent to sell or distribute a schedule III narcotic; and two counts of simple possession.

Detectives noted that Burleson had her 4-year-old daughter present during the undercover transaction and after Burleson was placed into custody, arrangements were made to have her daughter picked up. Burleson was taken to Watauga County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in district court on May 16.

In the release, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office wrote, “Detectives are aware of [Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club’s] involvement in the sell/distribution of controlled substances in Watauga and Avery County.”

Citing an ongoing investigation, Sgt. Jason Zaragoza with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office had little comment on the case.

“I will say that we know they are affiliated with larger national clubs,” Zaragoza.

Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye said he first heard of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club nearly 20 years ago but didn’t know they still existed. While Frye mentioned “motorcycle gangs historically tend to be involved in stuff like that,” he said that his department hasn’t heard any reports of or had any problems with distribution on a local level.

“We’ve never had any real problems with them in Avery County,” Frye said.

According to the organization’s website, the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club of Avery County was founded in 1973 by “family working men” and was the first Ghost Riders chapter in the state. While it disbanded and lost its charter in 1975, the Ghost Riders of Avery County re-chartered on February 1, 2011.

“It remains a family working man’s club to this day. Our club is not a business or gang. It is a motorcycle club for the family working man,” a portion of the online history reads. “Over the years it developed into a family of friends. Now it has become a way of life.”